Trends of increasing IPv6 uptake across the entire region

It might take a long time, possibly a decade or so, for the remaining part of the IPv4 web address resource pool allotted to the Asia Pacific region to get exhausted, despite the crunch that is being experienced globally.

The IPv4, or Internet Protocol version 4, is an old number-based address system that enables devices to communicate with one another on the Internet. The sets of numbers that could be used as digital addresses started getting exhausted as the Internet grew, necessitating the switch over to a newer protocol called IPv6.

Paul Wilson, Director General of Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), the regional Internet registry that oversees the allocation of web address resources for the region, told The Hindu that APNIC was implementing plans to conserve the remaining stock of IPv4 address resources allotted to this region “well ahead of time.”

APNIC has around 3,000 account holders, with new accounts being added every year.

The Number Resource Organisation (NRO), which oversees the allocation of these resources at the global level, announced in February that its store of unallocated IPv4 address space was fully depleted.

The demand for new address will be met with smaller allocations, to ensure that they last longer even as the world transitions to IPv6. APNIC is into a phased plan to handle this, and is currently approaching the end of phase 2, which will herald a key regional milestone with a major change in the IPv4 allocation policy, said Mr. Wilson, in an email interview.

APNIC does not want members to inflate requests in view of the exhaustion of IPv4 resources. They should factor in IPv6 to meet their long-term requirements and growth expectations.

During phase 3, the aim would be to conserve IPv4 “for as long as possible so there will always be enough space for new organisations to enter the market. This policy also reserves address space for each community member to complete a transition to IPv6.”

“This is a significant development for such a dynamic marketplace as India. India is far from its peak in terms of Internet penetration, both fixed and mobile. Those new entrants need that small delegation of IPv4 space to help their IPv6 networks talk to the IPv4 parts of the Internet,” he said.

“The Indian economy will continue to grow in terms of both IPv4 and IPv6 address delegation in the foreseeable future. The growth in delegations in India from 2008-2010 is approximately 63 per cent,” said Mr. Wilson, when asked about the country's share.

But in the face of dwindling IPv4 resources, the only way out is to switch to IPv6 in the long run. “Our statistics show trends of increasing IPv6 uptake across the entire region, including South Asia, since the introduction of APNIC's Kickstart IPv6 program in February 2010,” he explained.